How much money researchers make, managing Phd viva nervousness, and more

How much money researchers make, managing Phd viva nervousness, and more

You’re in for a surprise if you thought that 140 characters would be too few to start off meaningful discussions. While on Twitter to listen to what was on the academic community’s mind this month, we found a few important conversations burgeoning. There was an exciting conversation about how much money researchers make— you will be surprised at the global participation this thread received—, some great advice on how to keep calm during your PhD viva, skills that PhD scholars think got honed while they are pursuing a PhD, and finally a thread about non first-gen PhD students.  We are sure that you’ll find many gems among these conversations, which will provide you with both knowledge and insight!

How much money do researchers pay or make?

Susanna L Harris started off a thread asking researchers around the world how much they make in a year.

Of the many comments that the thread received, we thought that these had further engagement following them than the rest or they introduce readers to some interesting information and new perspectives. For example, did you ever consider the work that a tenured professor has to put in to get funding for the researchers they want to take on? Professor Daniel W Bliss' tweet was a look at the other side of the funding discussion.

A tweet from researcher Benjamin Nunn introduced people to the PhD funding situation in Scotland. If you do not know what kind of money researchers make in that part of the world, this tweet is a good place to get an idea.

Dani Beck’s tweet is our last subdiscussion selection from this thread. Those who are not in the know about the kind of money that researchers make in the Scandinavian countries can get their material here. Although Dani Beck himself posted only about the amount he makes while researching in Norway, his comment garnered responses from researchers in Sweden and Denmark. Also, if you are curious (like many on the thread were) about which universities would be a great consideration for PhD or postdoc, this thread by Susanna is a motherlode for the kind of funding that is available across universities.

What skills did your PhD help you refine?

Doing a PhD is never about just doing a PhD. Be it managing your relationships or your money or time or learning how to write according to journal guidelines, there are many skills that PhD life demands you develop. Jennifer Polk picked up on this one and started a thread where she asked academics what less obvious skills they thought their PhDs had helped them refine. The thread caught on quickly among academics on Twitter bringing responses from the informative to the funny.

You’d definitely agree with some of the points brought up by the first subdiscussion we chose— Shawn McGuirk has some funny mixed in with his serious claims of what skills his PhD helped him hone.

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Whereas it’s quite frequent to come across PhD researchers freaking out over not knowing exactly how things are going to turn out, it’s far less frequent to find ones who have made peace with this knowledge. Laura Mariani’s tweet was a refreshing change of affirmation of not really having it all figured out but being okay despite that.

Daniel Rough brought some humor into the usually dreaded experience of discovering that one has made a mistake in a manuscript they have already submitted. Imagine turning a perceived weakness into a strength and skill!

How to manage your nerves during a PhD viva

Who does not want advice about how to keep calm during their PhD viva? This thread is a definite source for some simple but valuable advice from researchers on how to maintain calm during one’s viva. Dr. Ranjit Khutan started off the thread, asking advice on behalf of one of his researchers who was scheduled to have her PhD viva later in the day.

You are always going to be an expert on your own thesis— have you thought about that? I bet you hadn’t. So this response from The Doctoral College is a real game-changer that PhD students ought to carry with them for their viva.

Focus on the aspects of your thesis that you are sure of and familiar with. Similar to the previous tweet, this one suggests that nervousness can be combatted with facts— that you don’t know what you don’t know and what you know, no one can take away from you.

A simple reminder— everything (including your PhD viva) becomes simpler when you think of it as a conversation instead of a test or an exam. It allows you to shift your frame of mind and alleviate the nervousness.

Are your parents PhDs too?

What’s it like to not be the first ones in the family to get a doctoral degree? @anthoknees points out that for many first-gen PhD students, it’s unimaginable exactly what having PhD parents would translate to.

This tweet highlighted how having PhD parents took out the Mr/Mrs divide from the equation, leaving @Amy Peterson a little confused as a child.

Apparently, it’s possible to compete with your parent about who gets to finish their PhD first! Roxanne J Kymani’s tweet was at once funny and heartwarming bringing to light the kind of bond that could exist between an academic parent and child.

We often do not imagine the effort that goes into getting a PhD outside of the direct academic labor. Arsalan Khan’s tweet paints a melancholic and hopeful picture.

That was a short and quick roundup of what was on academics’ minds on Twitter this month. If you caught wind of something that you think ought to have been included in this roundup, let us know. Keep watching this space for another roundup next month.

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